Over the course of a season, most football fans construct a mental map of the NFL teams. After last season for example, most football fans would have agreed that the Cardinals and Panthers would be contenders this year. Yet after just three weeks, both teams have already dropped two games.
In the NFC, in addition to Arizona and Carolina, the Redskins, Lions, Buccaneers, and 49ers are struggling to stay relevant after they all stumbled to 1-2 records. A loss this weekend and the six teams currently at 1-2 will be staring at very, very long playoff odds. And for the 0-3 Bears and Saints, the season is already basically over.
It's still early in the season, and the teams off to a slow start can still rebound, while the teams off to a strong start could still hit a slump. But like every season, the NFL landscape is changing, and with it we fans have to readjust our mental map of NFL teams.
The reality of the 2016 season is taking shape right before our eyes, and that reality doesn't have much to do with with the 2015 season.
At the end of the day, successfully picking winners for the weekend games hinges on our ability to accurately assess the 2016 landscape and forget about what happened in 2015. Can we do that? Have a look at the picks below to find out, and let us know what you think of our picks in the comments section.